It is a story which follows in a long history of police shootings in America.
The family claim the officer violated the teen’s civil rights during the stop that was instigated after the teen flashed his lights at the officer’s vehicle.
According to statements made by the police and the teen’s family, on February 28th, the high school junior was driving to his girlfriend’s house in Roxand Township, when he flashed his high beam headlights at Sgt. Jonathon Frost’s car.
Both the officer’s Bodycam and teen’s cell phone partially recorded a videos of the encounter.
In the video, Guildford states he flashed his headlights to warn the officer that his headlights were on full beam;
“You had your brights on, sir. I’m not lying to you. I was just doing that to be polite. I didn’t want you to flash someone and have someone go off the road and crash.”
Officer Frost has denied that his headlights were ever set to full beam, and after demanding to see the teen’s licence and registration, the teen reportedly refused. Frost can be heard in the video, stating;
“Do you realise that if you had complied with this traffic stop, it would have gone a whole different way for you?”
Frost then tries to physically drag Guilford out of his car. When the teen resisted, the officer used his Taser in an attempt to subdue him, the lawsuit said.
From what the video shows, Officer Frost did provide warnings, and Guildford did not comply with the officers requests.
The pair then reportedly became involved in a scuffle, during which the officer’s bodycam cut out and the teen’s cell phone dropped to the ground and only continued to record audio.
Despite there being no footage, and the teen’s family ensuring that Guildford was not violent and had never been in a fight, Frost claims Guilford had punched him in the face during the stop and that any further actions he took was in self-defence.
Guildford was shot seven times and killed.
From the final few frames of the footage, it does appear that Guildford can be seen aggressively approaching the officer, and the following picture of Frost when the medical teams arrived:
Nonetheless, how extreme does scuffle have to become to the point a trained officer must open fire seven times on a teenager? Guildford’s family are also suing Eaton County after prosecutors chose not to charge Sgt. Jonathan Frost in the February 28th encounter.
The family’s lawyer, Cynthia Heenan said in a statement:
“Deven’s tragic and totally unnecessary death represents a disturbing trend of demanding 100 percent compliance with police authority, coupled with zero tolerance of risk of harm to police officers.
Whatever happened to protect and serve?”
Devon Guildford’s death is truly a tragic story, but it seems unfortunately, it is not a common one.